March 29, 2012 at 3:27 PM ET
Every few weeks, another round of rumors pertaining to the next PlayStation hits the streets. Either it's boring, and entirely plausible, or too fantastic to be within the realm of reality. But the most recent batch, uncovered by Kotaku, falls straight down the middle and offers the most fascinating morsels to chew on thus far.
According to their sources, the upcoming console is code-named "Orbis." (Often projects are given placeholder titles while in development, since there are sometimes multiple iterations of the Next Big Thing in progress.) But as Kotaku points out, when placed alongside the name of Sony's current handheld, the term "Orbis Vita," or "the circle of life," emerges.
Given that connectivity among multiple devices is pushed so heavily these days, a new name makes sense. The article also points out the next iteration won't support PlayStation 3 games. It also reminds us how the PS3 system -- which at one point was backwards compatible with PS2 games -- was dropped early in its life cycle.
So it's easy to believe Sony's desire to "start fresh," and lose PlayStation 4.
On the slightly more fantastical front: Orbis will supposedly output games at a 4096 x 2160 resolution, far higher than current HDTV sets.
There is also talk of it not supporting used games, also rumored for the Xbox 360 successor. Given how much of a headache that used game sales cause publishers -- who don't get a cut of the profits, and have attempted to leverage the loss via online passes and DLC -- it makes sense Sony would be asked to lend a hand.
Not long after its initial report, Kotaku posted illustrations from Coque Design, a firm hired to illustrate various Orbis features. The pictures have since been removed from the site.
The images prominently depict players interacting with the PlayStation Eye, which is currently part of the PS3's PlayStation Move set-up, indicating an emphasis on motion control, which MSNBC first reported last year. Most interesting is the inclusion of a person interacting with the scene with his smartphone, perhaps as a controller.
When msnbc.com contacted Sony to confirm or deny the rumors, a representative simply said, "No comment."
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.